Did you know this about Vitamin D and Osteoporosis?
My recent doctor’s visit where I had a little freak out getting a bone density scan (I’m not going to lie, it did open my eyes!) has really had me focusing on strategies to help my bones stay strong as I age, and I want to make sure you have the same information too.
Remember, Osteoporosis often happens without warning. It results from an imbalance between new bone formation and old bone resorption. Many factors with nutrition and lifestyle can make our bones weaker, resulting in brittle and fragile bones that can break easily.
You want to do everything you can to keep your bones strong, especially as you are approaching Midlife or in Menopause and Beyond. This lesson today is part 3 in the series and will focus on other Strategies for Osteoporosis and Strong Bones and this lesson is about Vitamins and in particular, Vitamin D.
Did you know that vitamin D is actually a hormone rather than a vitamin? Yes, a hormone!
And it plays a major role in calcium absorption, bone health, muscle performance, balance, and risk of falling. You want to be sure you are getting the proper amount into your body, by food and/or supplements – this is one of the strategies for preventing Osteoporosis and keeping your bones strong.
Current recommendations for vitamin D intake are 800–1000 IU per day, including supplements if necessary for individuals age 50 and older.
We get Vitamin D in 3 different ways, sunlight, food, and supplements.
- Sunlight: Our skin makes Vitamin D after sun exposure and the amount depends on many factors including time of day, amount of skin exposed, skin color, latitude and even wearing sunscreen. In general, paler skin makes vitamin D faster than darker skin and those who live closer to the equator (in the US these are the Southern states) produce more Vitamin D.
- Foods: The following foods are the richest sources of vitamin D: fatty fish such as swordfish, salmon, tuna and sardines; cod-liver oil; eggs; and vitamin D-fortified milk, yogurts, cheeses, and juices (just check the nutrition label to make sure they are fortified with vitamin D if you are unsure).
- Supplements: Supplements are appropriate for the following groups of people: those who spend little time in the sun or who regularly cover up when outdoors; those with medical conditions such as Celiac and inflammatory bowel disease; people taking medicines that affect vitamin D levels such as certain anti-seizure medicines; people with very dark skin and people in larger bodies.
Be sure to check out the Recipe below for Roasted Salmon which can help you get more Vitamin D into your diet with Food!
Some words of caution about Vitamin D
If you are at risk for osteoporosis (or have even spent the past year of the pandemic inside more than being outside) it’s worth asking your Doctor about checking your blood levels of Vitamin D. And, just like Calcium, you can take too much Vitamin D – it’s unsafe to take over 4000 IU of vitamin D per day.
Your doctor may also prescribe you a vitamin D supplement.If purchasing a supplement, try to consider how much vitamin D you already consume to be sure that you do not exceed 4000 IU.
Consider purchasing supplements that are third-party tested to ensure their quality and safety such as the following brands: Nature Made, Kirkland, or Nordic Naturals.
There are also additional Micronutrients that Support Bone Health
Micronutrients are required in trace amounts for normal growth and development and research suggests that several are important to bone health:
- Vitamin K: Found in leafy green vegetables, spinach, cabbage and kale, liver, some fermented cheeses, and dried fruit, especially prunes!
- Magnesium: Found in green vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, unrefined grains, fish and dried fruit
- Zinc: Found in lean red meat, poultry, whole grain cereals, pulses, legumes and dried fruit
- Carotenoids precursors to vitamin A: Found in many vegetables, including in leafy green vegetables, carrots and red peppers
Be sure to check out this eay recipe for Recipe for Roasted Salmon with Yogurt that will help you get the calcium and vitamin D you need to prevent osteoporosis and get those nutrients in yoru body, with food!
If you are not sure that you are getting what you need (by diet and/or supplements) to keep your bones strong and prevent osteoporosis, please feel free to book a free call with me and let’s talk. Together we can determine what is the best path for you.
If you missed the first two lessons on Calcium and other Strategies for Osteoporosis and Strong Bones at Midlife, Menopause and Beyond, click the links below to reach each article.
- How Calcium can help prevent Osteoporosis
- Strategies for Strong Bones at Midlife, Menopause and Beyond
I am a big believer in journaling and using a planner to track what you are eating and how you are feeling. You can keep track of not only your food and feelings with my Intuitive Eating Wellness Planner and Journal and it also includes pages to help you track your health!
The journal is only $37 and includes several video lessons to help you develop this habit which can help you create even more habits so you can achieve your goals – your nutrition goals, food goals, your health goals and goals that matter to you. Grab your journal now!
- Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Postmenopausal Osteoporosis – 2020 update (American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists/ American College of Endocrinology)
- Calcium and Vitamin D Requirements
- Calcium in the Vegan Diet
Erica Leon is a Registered Dietitian and practices from a Health at Every Size (HAES®) lens. She is certified as an eating disorder specialist and is passionate about helping women at midlife, menopause and beyond to make peace with food and body image.
Erica is a highly sensitive nutrition therapist who takes the time to learn where you or your family are in the pursuit of health. Respectful of your individual needs and lifestyle, she will provide an honest assessment of whether or not you are a good fit to work together. Click here to schedule a 15-minute Discovery Call with Erica to let us know about your needs, and to see which of our Dietitians is the best fit for you!
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